I like to write stories where the characters do what any hot-blooded, very attracted people would do when thrown into close proximity to each other.
They have sex.
They don’t only have sex, and sometimes, they almost or nearly have sex a few times before they actually have sex and then something might drive them away from each other and when they find their way back together…guess what? Yep. They have sex.
And while writing these sexy people and their sexy situations, of course, some personal bias comes in. I can only write what I think is sexy, and the truth is, I love to write Alpha males. Give me the Khal Drogos. The Thors. The Big, Overpowering, you-know-he’s-gonna-wreck-you-hard-and-then-turn-into-a-complete-cuddle-bear-after kind of guys.
They’re not the only type of guys I write. I do love the quirky, funny, sort-of-nerdy guys as well, the ones with the quick wit and the arched brow who constantly call the female in the story on all of her nonsense. They’re the Captain Hooks. The Lokis. The Peter Quills.
And the problem with writing testosterone-fueled Alpha males and sly, sexy smart guys who know how to turn your words (and your body) against you is that sometimes, you have wonder if what you’re writing is sounding a little too….for lack of a better word…rapey.
Because there’s nothing sexy about rape. Ever.
And I’ve been called out a time or two (usually in my fanfics) for riding that line a bit too closely. Of course, every time someone’s said “He’s too forceful” or “Him making her beg for it is coercion and not consent” there have also been dozens of readers chiming in to tell me how hot that scene was. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference where that line is drawn (to a degree) and you can’t write your books in the hope of pleasing everyone. That’s a sure recipe for failure.
So here’s what I do. I write that man the way he’s telling me to write him, and the way the story leads him to grow. And when I’m going back and revising and editing after my beta readers have looked it over, if the scene is coming off as too creepy or rapey, I revise it.
I had a scene in Rain In The Moonlight where the hero very nearly took the girl against her will but stopped himself before he could. I thought it was important that they both address it, and that he should be properly remorseful for his part in that (though I also made sure to write him a damn good explanation – not an excuse, mind you, but an explanation – for his actions). It actually figured into a key breakthrough for the two of them.
I’ve also had plenty of scenes where the slick-talking guy used the girl’s biggest sex organ – her brain – as a weapon and seduced her with his words and then his finesse and she was more than pleasantly helpless in the face of it. I don’t really consider coercion of that kind to be beyond the pale because he’s not doing anything she really doesn’t want to do. To me coercion is a gun to the head, a threat to her family, or a promise of something she desperately needs in return for the cold and unfeeling usage of her body.
And again, there’s nothing sexy about that. And I like to write the sexy. Oh yes, I do.
So I’ll keep writing the men the way they tell me to. And I’ll keep a watchful eye on my women, to make sure they’re standing up for themselves and getting the respect they deserve. The rest will take care of itself, if the story is good.